PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Warsaw's efficient night sends Concord packing in 4A sectional semifinals

Mar. 1—ELKHART — Simply put, when the ball goes in, good things happen.

That was the storyline Friday night in Warsaw's 48-35 Sectional 4 semifinal win over Concord at NorthSide Gymnasium in Elkhart.

The Minutemen, digging out of a 13-point first quarter hole, let the gas tank hit empty on the comeback, ending the season at 18-5.

"It wasn't the night to have an off shooting night that's for sure," Concord head coach Derrick DeShone said after the loss. "What sucks is sometimes the ball just doesn't go in and that's the way it goes."

The Minutemen, who were 11-of-34 from the floor, were victims of multiple open misses around the horn. Shots inside the arc didn't fall either, and it doomed Concord from punching its ticket to Saturday's championship match for the second time in three years.

"I think we were hesitant at first on shooting that shot in the middle and we had confidence that Kavanaugh and Parker could make those and we just didn't hit them tonight," DeShone said.

Warsaw jumped out to an 18-5 lead after the first quarter, shooting 7-of-8 from the floor. Drew Sullivan brought the Tigers their energy. In the closing minutes of the first-quarter clock, Sullivan's shoe fell off at the top of the left wing. After passing the ball off and flipping the shoe behind him out of bounds, the junior found himself open in the corner for his second triple of the opening period.

It was symbolic of the kind of night the Tigers were to have. Efficient offensive shooting no matter the obstacle.

The second quarter allowed Concord to settle in and readjust to seemingly a different Warsaw group that the one the Minutemen beat 56-45 earlier in the year.

"They ran literally all new offense that what they ran during the season and we had to adjust a little bit," DeShone said. "They hadn't played in ten days and shot it very well."

Concord's cause improved with Warsaw committing six turnovers in the second quarter. While the Tigers shot 4-of-4 in the second frame, the Minutemen, led by senior Jaylan Bolen, used their defense to provide more scoring opportunities.

A steal from Bolen led to the guard running the floor, banking in the transition layup and finishing the foul shot to pull within 21-15 midway through the quarter.

Warsaw ended the period on a 7-2 run, taking a 28-17 lead into the locker room.

Concord hit the bonus with five minutes to play in the third quarter and after Braeden Messenger made both his foul shots, the Minutemen were once again within six on the scoreboard with 45 seconds to play.

Down 39-31 entering the fourth, Concord's offense stalled as open 3-pointers continued to fall by the wayside. The Minutemen's 12-of-12 night at the charity stripe didn't cut into the lead enough and Warsaw rolled through the final period for its first sectional win in three seasons.

"Maybe it wasn't our best defensive game," DeShone said as Concord forced 12 turnovers and turned it over just twice themselves. "I never doubt our kids and their effort and their coachability. It sucks, we gotta make shots. We did not have a good shooting night tonight and it got us."

On what obstacle stood in the Minutemen's way from getting within five, the point swings on both sides was enough to dispel the momentum.

"We couldn't get it under six," DeShone said. "We kept saying 'we gotta get it under six, we gotta get it under six' and we'd miss a shot and they'd come down and hit a three. It was three or four times there was a five-point swing."

Warsaw's Luke Bricker scored 20 points to lead Warsaw. He was followed by Robbie Finlinson (7), Sullivan (6), Brandt Martin (5), Luke Yeager (4), Carson Gould (4) and Mydin Burgher (2). The Tigers finished 18-of-27 from the floor and were 7-of-14 from behind the arc.

Concord's leading scorer was Messenger with 12 points followed by Bolen (10), Lucas Prough (5), Parker McCuen (4), Andrew Kavanaugh (2) and Avery Johnson (2). The Minutemen shot just 11-of-34 from the floor and were 3-of-14 from behind the arc.

Five seniors make up the Concord roster. Messenger, Kavanaugh, McCuen and Bolen make up the senior starters with Johnson off the bench. It leaves a strong group DeShone will say goodbye too after a very successful season ends short.

"We told them in there, they kind of put this place back on the map these past two years," DeShone said. "They're not the most talented and gifted players but their toughness, their smarts, their chemistry is what did it for us this year. They set a good bar for the guys after."

The Elkhart Sectional 4 final will tipoff Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. as Warsaw (18-5) will take on Penn (18-6). The Kingsmen beat Elkhart in the second game Friday night 52-43.


IHSAA Class 4A Sectional 4 Semifinals

Warsaw — 18; 10; 13; 9 — 48

Concord — 5; 12; 14; 4 — 35

Warsaw plays Penn in the championship game Saturday

Reach Matt Lucas at 574-533-2151, ext. 240325, or at